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Miami-Dade property appraiser asks for hearing against Department of Revenue


The Miami-Dade property appraiser filed legal action against the state of Florida on Monday over an obscure administrative rule the county says has contributed to mucking up crucial tax collections for local governments.

At issue is the way property owners can go about appealing their tax assessments before the Value Adjustment Board, an agency whose work is being scrutinized by the Miami-Dade Inspector General.

Florida law allows owners to reschedule an appeal “a single time.” But rules written by the state Department of Revenue in 2009 say the hearing can be rescheduled once and then again and again, indefinitely, if the petitioner shows “good cause.” Among valid reasons: illness, a death in the family, a delay in the hearing or “other reasons beyond” the petitioner’s control.

Those repeated delays go beyond what state law allows, the office of acting Property Appraiser Lazaro Solis argued in its legal petition to the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings. And the delays waste the property appraiser’s resources and ability to certify the final tax rolls that are local governments’ lifeblood, he said.

“It’s killing us,” he said.

In 2012, about 28 percent of value-adjustment 73,800 appeals were rescheduled at least twice.

The 2012 tax rolls were certified nearly 18 months late.


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Voice of reason

This suit is extremely well founded with a great chance for success.


Actually there is a governing statute that requires all VAB petitioners to pay at least 75% of their ad valorem taxes and fees by April 1st OR ELSE their petition will be cancelled. And, knowledgeable petitioners typically pay 100% of whatever is owed so that they do not owe interest if their appeal does not succeed. And, what is the meaning of "2012 tax rolls were certified nearly 18 months late". The VABs do not start, anywhere, until after the initial rolls are certified. This process is to property ownership what voting is to democracy - except it appears some folks are not well educated in US history.

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